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Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide, 5763

Nissan 15 - Sivan 5, 5763
April 17 - June 4, 2003

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


In honor of his 101st birthday,
11 Nissan, 5763

Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio) - Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.


We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 339th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this issue, we focus on the laws of S'firat Ha'omer, the counting of the Omer.

Therefore, we present here "Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide" and other related material about counting the Omer.


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.


It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

27 Adar II, 5763
Brooklyn, New York


"What more can I do to motivate the whole world to cry out and demand the Redemption?... I have done all I can; now you must do whatever you can. May it be G-d's will that there will be one, two, or three among you who will appreciate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and may you actually be successful and bring about the complete Redemption, immediately!"

(The Rebbe, 28 Nissan, 5751/1991)


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.

Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.


During(1) the days of the Omer, we eagerly count the days from Pesach until Shavuot, looking forward to receiving the Torah anew.

The Torah says, "And you shall count seven full weeks, from the day after your festival, when you bring the Omer as a wave offering...." (Leviticus 23:15).

What is the Omer? Why is it connected with counting these days? Here is the answer.

In the Holy Land, barley ripens in the spring, in the month of Nissan.

In the time of the Beis HaMikdosh, the new crop could not be used until an amount of barley, called an "Omer," was offered on the Great Altar in the Sanctuary. This is how it took place:

Right after the first day of Pesach, on the eve of the 16th of Nissan, prominent Torah scholars and members of the Supreme Court (Bet-Din) would go out into a field of barley near Jerusalem that had been prepared before Yom Tov.

All the neighboring villagers would gather to watch the ceremony.

Three men using three sickles would cut three measures of barley, which they would put in three boxes.

Once it was dark, the head of the reapers would say, "Has the sun set?"

"Yes," everyone would reply.

"Has the sun set?" he would ask again.


"Has the sun set?"

A third time they would answer, "Yes."

Then he would point to the sickle and ask three times, "Is this the sickle?"


"Is this the sickle?" -- "Yes."

"Is this the sickle?" -- "Yes."

In the same way, he would ask three times, "Is this the box?" -- "Yes."

"Is this the box?" -- "Yes."

"Is this the box?" -- "Yes."

If it was Shabbat, he would also ask three times, "Is it Shabbat today?"

This showed everybody that the mitzvah of cutting the Omer pushes off the Shabbat.

Finally he would ask, "Shall I reap?"

"Yes," they would answer.

"Shall I reap?" -- "Yes."

"Shall I reap?" -- "Yes."

This whole ceremony was very awesome. What was it all for?

Unfortunately, there were people at that time who rebelled against the Sages. They were called Beitusim. They tried to get people not to listen to the teachings of the Sages.

One of their arguments was that the Omer should only be cut on a Saturday night, after Shabbat.

In fact, in the Torah it says that the time for cutting the Omer is "the day after Shabbat." The Beitusim said this meant the day after Shabbat itself. But the Sages had the tradition from Mt. Sinai, that Yom Tov is also called Shabbat, and the Omer should be cut the day after Yom Tov!

They made a big ceremony out of it, so that it would be clear to everyone that the Beitusim were not correct. The Omer had to be cut the day after Yom Tov, even on Shabbat!

After the barley had been cut, it was placed in the three boxes and brought to the Beis HaMikdosh. Since it was still green and soft, it was dried and roasted in such a way that the fire touched every grain. Then it was spread out in the courtyard for the wind to blow through it. Finally it was ground up with millstones into flour.

Of the three measures (se'ah) of barley that had been reaped in the field, only one tenth was taken for the offering. This quantity is called an Omer.

This Omer was then sieved thirteen times, over and over again, until it was fine and pure.

The next day, the barley flour was burned as an offering on the Mizbayach, the Great Altar. Before burning it, the kohen would wave it in every direction in honor of the One to Whom the whole world belongs. It was as if he were saying, "Thank you, G-d, for the harvest. Thank you for the very bread we eat."

* * *

In the Midrash it says that the Omer shows us how kind G-d is to His people. When the Jews were in the wilderness, G-d gave every single one of them an Omer of manna every day. Now that the Jewish people had come into the Holy Land, all G-d asked in return was a single Omer from the whole Jewish people. Nor did they need to bring it every day. Once a year was enough. And barley, a poor man's grain, was all G-d required.

Our Sages also taught that Pesach is the time when the crops are ripening. At this time, G-d judges the world in regard to food, particularly grain.

At such a moment G-d says to us, "Bring me an Omer of barley on Pesach, and I will bless the grain in your fields for the whole year."

By counting these days, we remember that the world is being judged. Will there be hunger or plenty? At this time we should return to G-d with a complete heart, and beg Him to have mercy on us and on all His creatures, and on the land, so that the harvest may grow as required.

Nowadays, we do not have the Beis HaMikdosh, and we cannot bring the Omer offering, but we pray that by doing G-d's mitzvah of Counting the Omer with joy in our hearts, we may merit His ultimate blessing, that He should speedily restore the Beis HaMikdosh, and reestablish His Kingship throughout the world, with the revelation of Moshiach, Now.


1. Adapted from The Moshiach Times, published by Tzivos Hashem.


On the second night of Pesach, we begin S'firat Ha'omer, counting forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the day when the Torah was given to the children of Israel. This is done every night following the evening prayer leading up to the night before Shavuot.

We use this time to prepare ourselves to receive the Torah, just as our ancestors did at Mt. Sinai.


Edited by Rabbi Y. K. Marlow O. B. M.
(Head of Bet-Din of Crown Heights)

  • We begin counting the Omer on the second night of Pesach, Thursday, April 17, 2003.
  • It is most proper to count the Omer at the beginning of the night, immediately following the evening prayer. However, it is permissible to count the Omer throughout the night.
  • If you forget to count at nightfall, but have reminded yourself before dawn, you may count then, with the blessing.
  • If you forget to count at night; you can count throughout the next day (without saying the blessing). The following evening you can count again with the blessing.
  • If you forget to count for a whole day, you should still keep on counting the days until Shavuot, but you do not say the blessing any more.
  • If you are in doubt whether you counted the previous night, even though you definitely did not count during the day, you may recite the blessing when counting on the subsequent nights.


  • Every night, after nightfall, after having recited the evening prayer, say the following blessing, and then count the proper day:

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Al Se-fi-ras Ho-omer.


Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments, and
commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.

  • Then we count the day, saying:

"Today is one day (or two days, or three days, etc.) of the Omer."


Nissan 15 - Sivan 5, 5763
April 17 - June 4, 2003

  • Thurs. eve., April 17 - count Omer 1.
  • Fri. eve., April 18 - count Omer 2.
  • Sat. eve., April 19 - count Omer 3.

  • Sun. eve., April 20 - count Omer 4.
  • Mon. eve., April 21 - count Omer 5.
  • Tues. eve., April 22 - count Omer 6.
  • Wed. eve., April 23 - count Omer 7.
  • Thurs. eve., April 24 - count Omer 8.
  • Fri. eve., April 25 - count Omer 9.
  • Sat. eve., April 26 - count Omer 10.

  • Sun. eve., April 27 - count Omer 11.
  • Mon. eve., April 28 - count Omer 12.
  • Tues. eve., April 29 - count Omer 13.
  • Wed. eve., April 30 - count Omer 14.
  • Thurs. eve., May 1 - count Omer 15.
  • Fri. eve., May 2 - count Omer 16.
  • Sat. eve., May 3 - count Omer 17.

  • Sun. eve., May 4 - count Omer 18.
  • Mon. eve., May 5 - count Omer 19.
  • Tues. eve., May 6 - count Omer 20.
  • Wed. eve., May 7 - count Omer 21.
  • Thurs. eve., May 8 - count Omer 22.
  • Fri. eve., May 9 - count Omer 23.
  • Sat. eve., May 10 - count Omer 24.

  • Sun. eve., May 11 - count Omer 25.
  • Mon. eve., May 12 - count Omer 26.
  • Tues. eve., May 13 - count Omer 27.
  • Wed. eve., May 14 - count Omer 28.
  • Thurs. eve., May 15 - count Omer 29.
  • Fri. eve., May 16 - count Omer 30.
  • Sat. eve., May 17 - count Omer 31.

  • Sun. eve., May 18 - count Omer 32.
  • Mon. eve., May 19 - count Omer 33.
  • Tues. eve., May 20 - count Omer 34.
  • Wed. eve., May 21 - count Omer 35.
  • Thurs. eve., May 22 - count Omer 36.
  • Fri. eve., May 23 - count Omer 37.
  • Sat. eve., May 24 - count Omer 38.

  • Sun. eve., May 25 - count Omer 39.
  • Mon. eve., May 26 - count Omer 40.
  • Tues. eve., May 27 - count Omer 41.
  • Wed. eve., May 28 - count Omer 42.
  • Thurs. eve., May 29 - count Omer 43.
  • Fri. eve., May 30 - count Omer 44.
  • Sat. eve., May 31 - count Omer 45.

  • Sun. eve., June 1 - count Omer 46.
  • Mon. eve., June 2 - count Omer 47.
  • Tues. eve., June 3 - count Omer 48.
  • Wed. eve., June 4 - count Omer 49.


The most important principle in the Torah is the protection of Jewish life.

It's more important than Shabbat, more important than holidays, even fasting on Yom Kippur.

Right now, in Israel, and everywhere, Jews must stand together in unity and do whatever possible to protect Jewish life.

The Rebbe taught that there are ten important Mitzvot we can do to protect life. See what you can do:

1) Ahavat Yisroel: Behave with love towards another Jew.

2) Learn Torah: Join a Torah class.

3) Make sure that Jewish children get a Torah true education.

4) Affix kosher Mezuzot on all doorways of the house.

5) For men and boys over 13: Put on Tefillin every weekday.

6) Give Charity.

7) Buy Jewish holy books and learn them.

8) Light Shabbat & Yom Tov candles. A Mitzvah for women and girls.

9) Eat and drink only Kosher Food.

10) Observe the laws of Jewish Family Purity.

In addition, the Rebbe also urged every man, woman and child to Purchase a Letter in a Sefer Torah. There are several Torah scrolls being written to unite Jewish people and protect Jewish life.

Letters for children can be purchased for only $1. Send your Hebrew name and your mother's Hebrew name plus $1 to:

"Children's Sefer Torah,"
P. O. Box 8,
Kfar Chabad, 72915, Israel

or via the Internet, at: http://www.kidstorah.org

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